Letter: Town Board’s limited powers

This is to provide some clarification on the 41-unit affordable housing project currently under review by the Town Planning Board. The Planning Board is not starting with a blank slate, but is undergoing a review of revisions to a project that was approved following a lengthy process under the existing zoning law in 2007.

A negative declaration under SEQRA was given at the time of the initial approval in 2007, which meant that the project was determined to have no significant effects on the environment. In 2010, the owner of the project, Crowne Management, appeared before the Planning Board to ask if the board would consider workforce housing as part of the plan. Since that was an allowed usage in the zoning district, the Planning Board said that was a usage that could be considered.

Crowne Management entered into discussions with Regan Development to sell the property. Regan Development then applied for the apartment complex approval with the workforce housing component. After initial meetings and a public hearing, the Planning Board is revisiting its SEQRA approval only in terms of whether or not the proposed revision changes the basis for the original determination, that is, the negative declaration. The negative declaration may be rescinded only if the Planning Board finds that there have been substantial changes to the project, if new information was discovered or put forth, or if there were changes in circumstances related to the project.

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Under its powers to review and approve projects under the zoning law and subdivision regulations, the Planning Board is not authorized to consider the type of ownership of residences (for sale or for rent), nor the income or other characterizations of the future residents as part of this review. Any approvals or disapprovals of this project are entirely a Planning Board determination. The Saugerties Town Board and supervisor are not a part of this process under law, and can neither approve nor disapprove of it.

Greg Helsmoortel

Supervisor, Town of Saugerties

Howard Post

Chairman, Town of Saugerties Planning Board


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